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Monday, November 7, 2011

Planning for 2012

November 1. Every year I intend to spend time at the beginning of third quarter planning for the next year. And every year when I flip the calendar from October to November, I recognize that, yet again, I am behind in giving serious thought to what must be done the following year to ensure success. Now, I do push my clients to plan early, but somehow I always end up behind!

When you own a business, it’s really hard to take a full day (or more) away from operations, so here is my plan:
  • I am setting aside one afternoon without interruption to brainstorm about next year. Some of the questions I’ll ask:

a.       How successful were we at meeting last year’s goals?
b.      Where do we want the firm to go in 2012 (and 2-3 years beyond)?
c.       Have we integrated our message across all platforms well?
d.      Have we taken advantage of new marketing means and the tried and true?
e.      Do we have the right resources to get there?
f.        What can we do differently to help us succeed?
g.       Are we meeting the needs of our clients?
h.      Have things changed within the firm where we need a brand review (or do you have a brand image and message)?
i.         Without consideration to budget, what would I do?
  • After mulling the answers to the above questions over, I’ll dedicate a second session to laying out a high level plan.
  • Session three will have to include the budget. Love brainstorming, but not so much the budget process…
  • The fourth and final session will be a more detailed planning session based on those pesky budget numbers and key benchmark goals.

Last but not least will be the old company meeting where we talk through next year’s plan and how the team can meet our goals. It’s a big task, but breaking it into manageable chunks works every time. Do you have a process you follow to do your annual plan? I’d love to hear what works for you and what doesn’t!

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